“If winning is not everything, then why do they keep score?”
Indeed… quite logical are these words of Vince Lombardi after all. Aren’t they? If it’s not all that important where we end up, what’s the whole point of the journey we go through… of the pain and the struggle of our efforts? We might as well, just accept and be contended of our current status, isn’t it? Call it vanity or anything else you like but for the fact remains that we all play to win. Our journey is to a specific destination and not an aimless ‘its-ok-wherever-we-end up’ joyride.
We have goals that are specific, measurable and important; we try not because it’s fun but we try to take our efforts to a logical conclusion – a winning con
clusion. The accomplishment is the achievement and anything less is oblivion.
If it wasn’t about winning then you would never see the athlete burst his lungs and try to breast the victory tape before anyone else did… if victory wasn’t the pinnacle of everything you wouldn’t see a Roger Federer, an Usain Bold,
or a Sachin Tendulkar spend a zillion hours tearing the bodies to shreds trying to perfect that art that makes them better than everyone else. Competitiveness and desire to win are the sharp edges to the sword of talent they carry. For all the awesome talents of the greats of the world, if they tucked into bed easily swallowing the bitter pill of defeat we’d never see the boundaries being constantly pushed - be it any field champions never take defeat easily… it’s not ok to lose… everyone wants to be remembered.. And everyone remembers the guy who came first!
Sounds very logical, sounds very matter-of-fact, doesn't it? And yet in the hearts of hearts, I cannot begin to accept such a predicament!
If I were to look at it more poignantly… I wonder if winning is actually indeed the whole and sole destination we seek. Is it the be all and end all of things… is our efforts meaningless if they fail to produce results that are a fraction less of a competitor? If the world was all about competing wouldn’t we be just about fighting one another to death in each sphere of life? Isn’t life more about collaboration and co-existence… aren’t we made by nature to co-habit and be more of ‘intelligent being’ who learn, grow to betterment each day?
So how does this betterment come about… born with limited ability and specific skill… how can we improve? It dawns upon me that it’s not really important if we reach the destination we sought at the beginning but it’s just as important if we’ve experienced and enriched our life with the experience of the journey we’ve been through. Just as a rough-edged stone that passes through the course of the river to emerge a more rounded, smooth and appealing stone at the end of the course… just as a piece of carbon stone that comes out a diamond at the end of its journey… its important how we’ve shaped by our trials than how we are shaped by our achievements.
Winning is not the destination that we out to seek, but excellence is what we pursue and winning would be the consequence of excellence. When we try to beat the others we are limiting our abilities to just beat the guy next to us… there is every possibility that our God given ability far outwits anyone else but the cloud of competitiveness blinds our vision to look any further than a mark set by another mortal.
Moreover, winning at all costs, strips us of the values and morals that set us apart as the civilized species… what is a victory that is soaked in deceit? In an unhealthy obsession of ends justifying our means? Is that all that we look at in our champions? The best captains of our generation – Hansie Cronje… remembered no more as the meanest of skippers but as a mortal who gave in to the mammon… Tiger Woods, the greatest of champions, Ramalinga Raju one of the barons of Indian industry… all of them… they won so much in their hey day… but couldn’t win the hearts of the people!
History is replete with stories of people who never made it to where they actually wanted to… but were winners, achievers and pioneers because they tried – earnestly and thus went beyond the limits of human endurance… Christopher Columbus comes to my mind foremost… he set his sails to India… never made it but in trying and trying beyond any human had done ever before him… he set foot in a land that were to shape the course of history from there on. And today we remember this great explorer not as a lost soul but as the greatest explorer of the history!
It’s after all not winning or the destination… but the journey, its experience and excellence that make all the difference!